In between rain storms, Morgan Hill residents have likely noticed this winter that several new residential developments are under construction in town.
According to City Hall staff reports, there are currently eight residential projects under construction. These range from a small cluster of single-family homes to large rental apartment complexes, and all have been approved for construction for months or even years, in some cases.
Mayor Mark Turner noted that some of the projects being built now date back to the city’s Residential Development Control System, which hasn’t been active since the California legislature approved an emergency housing law in 2019 that overrides local regulations.
In total, when fully built and occupied these projects will bring more than 950 new homes to Morgan Hill.
And that doesn’t include numerous other housing developments that have been approved but not yet reached the construction stage, and others that are in the application and assessment phase in the city planning office.
Turner pointed out that many of the approved and under construction units are a product of fairly recent state housing laws such as SB 330, which is known as the Housing Crisis Act of 2019. SB 330 allows unlimited residential permits and expedited permitting processes in an effort to resolve California’s housing shortage.
Other state laws give developers of affordable housing a more streamlined path to get their projects approved in local jurisdictions.
With many existing residents and public officials concerned about the impact that such a sudden uptick in residential development could bring, Turner said he is planning to organize an effort to advance the discussion with state officials.
“We need to get elected officials from various communities together and go to Sacramento, and talk about the impact that this is having,” Turner said. “Some communities are starting to resist the number of units being pushed on them (although) our position in Morgan Hill is, we are going to be in compliance—but with that we’re going to have some conversations about it.”
Earlier this year, the city council approved its General Plan Housing Element, which lays out how Morgan Hill plans to accommodate up to 1,819 new housing units from 2023-2031. The element is required by the state of all cities in California, and is based on the state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment program.
The latest RHNA says Morgan Hill should build at least 1,037 new homes from 2023-2031.
Some cities have resisted or delayed the filing of their housing elements, in some cases due to local opposition to the increasing residential requirements imposed by state legislation.
The Morgan Hill council unanimously approved its housing element in January.
One of the common concerns about an increased rate of residential growth is the impact on traffic and road infrastructure. Turner said city officials are beginning to compile Morgan Hill’s first Transportation Master Plan—which would ideally address some of those issues.
“As the community grows, we are going to see more and more of these challenges,” Turner said.
Hundreds of apartments
Two of the projects currently under construction in Morgan Hill will each bring hundreds of new rental apartments to town.
One of these is the Vida development, which is located on Jarvis Drive between Monterey Road and Butterfield Boulevard. Under construction by MBK Rental Living, when completed the 25-acre project will consist of 398 apartments—including 78 affordable units.
MBK Rental Living President Ken McCarren said the first phase of Vida should be completed by December, although he said the wet winter so far has caused “major delays” in construction. The project will be built in a total of eight phases, and reach full completion by June 2024.
Another large apartment complex under construction is a 249-unit project at Monterey Road and Madrone Parkway, developed by Jemcor. All units in the Jemcor project will be considered affordable housing under state and regional guidelines.
Another 100% affordable housing project under construction is the Royal Oak Village development on Watsonville Road, near the intersection of Monterey Road. This includes 73 rental units, including 36 apartments for farmworker housing.
Other housing projects under construction in Morgan Hill include:
– Morgan Hill Senior Housing: 82 age-restricted, affordable units on a two-acre plot bound by Monterey Road, San Pedro Avenue and Church Street (next to the Post Office).
– The Lumberyard, also known as the Depot-Latala project: 49 townhomes with 3,076 square feet of commercial office space. This project is located in downtown Morgan Hill, on Depot Street just north of East Dunne Avenue.
– Monterey-Jasper Trumark: 101 townhomes (including 15 affordable units) and 2,900 square feet of commercial space. The development is located north of town at 18110 Monterey Road.
– Appletree: Relocation of a historical home and development of five new single-family homes on a 1.13-acre parcel at the corner of Monterey and Old Monterey roads.
New homes on the way
Appletree: 5 single family units*
Monterey-Jasper Trumark: 101 townhouses
Vida (Butterfield Village Apartments): 398 rental units
The Lumberyard (Depot-Latala): 49 townhomes, plus 3,076 square feet of offices
Morgan Hill Senior Housing: 82 units
Royal Oak Village: 73 rental units
Jemcor (Monterey-Miner): 249 rental units
Total residential units under construction in Morgan Hill: 957
* Numbers are total units approved for construction at full buildout